By Liz Lopez
With all the holiday hustle and bustle, film fans may seek an alternative from an action film in order to escape to something more quite. Though some families may already have enough drama in their lives during the holidays, it may help some viewers to see a feature film on the big screen and discover what similarities and differences another family has to contend with. After a World Premiere screening in the SXSW Film Festival 2012 Narrative Spotlight category, Director/Screenwriter Brian Savelson’s film, In Our Nature, has a theatrical release this weekend that is abuzz with film and television award nominations. Although In Our Nature may not be amid the top five or ten of critic’s lists, it is still a good dramatic story without lots of frills and deals with family issues that might come up during the holidays for some. I was surprised by the story ending, as it does not have the predictable resolution between the characters I anticipated for this film.
The cast of four characters do a good job in carrying out the story about Gil (John Slattery, Mad Men) and son, Seth (Zach Gilford, The Mob Doctor, Friday Night Lights), who have a chance encounter over one weekend with their respective girlfriends in tow. The actresses in this film, Jena Malone and Gabrielle Union, play supporting roles to the two gentlemen who give a credible performance in the dramatic scenes. The parent – child relationship is strained to say the least, apparently, for a very long time. After a few scenes of viewing and listening to Gil, the viewer can understand why his son has kept his distance. I do not care much for the Gil as an individual, nor his parenting style, and am still not quite sold on why Gil and Vicky are still in a committed relationship after seeing how he behaves. Slattery does a good job of making me dislike Gil.
I do enjoy the cinematography by Jeremy Saulnier as he captures some of the beautiful outdoor scenes where the family home is located. It does serve as a great location for the two men to come face to face with the differences they have with each other’s life and lifestyle. The scenes with the bear are not believable and this hurt the script more than it helped.
Seth, a musician and occasional restaurant employee, escapes Brooklyn with his girlfriend, Andie (Malone) to his family’s weekend house in upstate New York. Their planned romantic getaway comes to a screeching halt when unexpectedly, Gil, Seth’s well to do estranged father and young girlfriend, Vicky (Union) arrive with their own plans for the weekend. The four characters show a great display of handling an awkward situation and it is the women who carefully negotiate the emotional minefields.
This 103 minute drama opens December 14th at the Regal Arbor Theater in Austin. After viewing someone else’s problems on the big screen, we might just decide our family “drama” is not quite so bad. Happy Holidays!